Death toll in Syria's Aleppo rises despite UN truce plea

2 min

Aleppo (Syria) (AFP)

The death toll from an upsurge of fighting in Syria's second city Aleppo rose on Thursday despite a plea by the UN envoy for the warring sides to respect a February ceasefire.

Rescue volunteers in a rebel-held neighbourhood recovered another 10 bodies from the rubble, taking the death toll from overnight air strikes by the regime to 30, the civil defence said.

In government-held areas, rebel fire killed four people early on Thursday, state news agency SANA reported.

One of the regime strikes on the rebel-held Sukkari neighbourhood hit a hospital, killing the only paediatrician still working in opposition areas of the city, civil defence said.

Another strike hit a block of flats close to the Al-Quds hospital.

At least 20 of the dead were civilians.

"We cannot identify the 10 bodies. Some of them are too badly burned, others are missing their heads and others are badly disfigured," a rescue worker told AFP.

The air raids paused for several hours in the early morning but resumed at around 10 am (0700 GMT), an AFP correspondent reported.

The deaths are the latest from an upsurge of fighting between government and rebel forces in the divided city that has killed nearly 150 people since last Friday.

They come despite an appeal by UN envoy Staffan de Mistura late on Wednesday for urgent steps to rescue the February 27 truce from its cosponsors Russia and the United States.

Washington has accused Moscow of encouraging its Damascus ally to embark on an offensive to retake the whole of Aleppo, Syria's pre-war commercial hub.

Moscow has countered that the rebels in the city are fighting alongside Al-Qaeda, which is not covered by the ceasefire, and has asked the UN to add two key Islamist rebel groups to the exclusion blacklist.